Location: British Colonial America
Loading the Kentucky Long Rifle
|British Colonial America, 1776.|
For the frontiersman and soldier, loading and reloading the Kentucky long rifle was far more involved and tedious than required for today's modern muzzle loader.
A powder horn containing black powder and a pouch were worn over the rifleman's sholder. In the pouch he carried patch material, patch knife, bullet mold for casting lead balls, and flints for the flintlock.
The procedure for loading the Kentucky long rifle was as follows:
Step 1. Placing rifle butt stock on the ground, the rifleman poured a charge of black powder down the muzzle and rapped the side of the barrel with the heel of his hand to settle the powder.
Step 2. He wet a piece of patching with his tongue, placed the patching over the rifle muzzle, laid a ball over the patching, and pressed both into the muzzle with a short starter tool or the ramrod. The ball and patching was inserted just deep enough to clear the muzzle, and the excess patching, which protruded from the muzzle, was then trimmed off with a patch knife specially designed for this purpose.
Step 3. Using the ramrod the rifleman forced ball and patch down the full length of the rifle barrel until it pressed firmly against the black powder charge.
Step 4. The very last operation before firing was priming the piece. For the flintlock rifle, he opened the frizzen and poured a small amount of priming powder into the pan and closed the frizzen.
Step 5. Ready to fire.
Perspective: On a fair day, reloading the Kentucky long rifle required time, art, and skill. Then, factor-in the challenges of cold wet hands, bad weather, low light, excitement, fear, and urgency.
Robert Baker being the first man in recorded history to design and manufacture the Pa. rifle. At his death , his son Caleb kept up the tradition and later used to great effect in the American Revolution. The rifle was later known as the Hog Rifle and the Kentucky Rifle in Daniel Boone's day."